Artificial intelligence in all its new forms—robotics, machine learning, natural language processing and generation—is captivating finance departments. However, few finance groups are wringing the full value from the technology they already own, according to a new Bain & Company survey of 500 finance executives and professionals in the US, UK and Germany. For example, in accounts payable, fewer than one-third of respondent companies pay more than 60% of supplier invoices electronically, and only 6% process those supplier invoices with no manual touches. That’s far from an automated process, even though electronic invoicing has been available for many years. Too many finance departments may be rushing into hot new technologies without taking parallel steps to making the most from their existing store of tried-and-true tools.
Michael Heric is a partner with Bain & Company’s Performance Improvement practice, and coleads Bain Support Functions globally. He is based in New York.
Robotic process automation and machine learning may be hot, but many existing technologies remain vastly underutilized.